Boot Barn CEO Jim Conroy told analysts that problems migrating its Sheplers.com online store to a new platform limited e-commerce growth.

Issues that arose when migrating to a new e-commerce platform cost footwear retailer Boot Barn Inc. during the final quarter of its fiscal 2017.

Online sales grew in the mid-single digits year over year during fiscal Q4 ended April 1, Boot Barn CEO Jim Conroy told analysts on the retailer’s Q4 2017 earnings call last week. He declined to specify a dollar figure or percentage.

When Boot Barn-owned Sheplers.com replatformed its online store, Sheplers’ sales decreased because the site is not showing up in search engine results and it’s mobile website is slower than it was before the replatform, Conroy said.

“We had identified the metrics that are underperforming and have a team comprised of both internal executives and outside parties focused on rectifying the issues,” he said, according to a transcript from Seeking Alpha. “While we’re clearly disappointed that sales have been negatively impacted post-conversion, we believe that the new platform will benefit us long term and we will continue to work hard to improve the site performance and return Sheplers.com to positive sales growth.”

Sheplers.com is using responsive design, which adapts the site to whatever screen a user is viewing.

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“It’s the same site, but when a user is on the site on their mobile phone, conversion has declined, and we believe that the primary reason for that is the mobile site is slower, unfortunately, than it was before the transition,” he said.

“When a customer is on the mobile site and the experience is slower, they just exit, they just leave and either go to another site or they get distracted to some other activity, and we’ve seen the conversion on our mobile site getting worse, because of the speed, we believe,” Conroy said. “And as your site is slower and you have a higher abandon rate, you then get penalized in organic search.”

The retailer finished the platform migration in February, Conroy said. He said the company plans to move its flagship BootBarn.com site to the new e-commerce platform later this year. Boot Barn acquired Sheplers in June 2015 for $147 million in cash. The retailer made the acquisition in part because of Sheplers’ strong e-commerce presence.

We’ve seen the conversion on our mobile site getting worse, because of the speed, we believe.

 

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Boot Barn, No. 335 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 500, acquired online-only Western wear retailer Country Outfitter during the fourth quarter for $1.8 million. Boot Barn chief financial officer Greg Hackman told analysts that Boot Barn projects Country Outfitter will generate $10 million in sales during the next fiscal year.

“We performed an analysis of Country Outfitter’s customers and determined that the majority are not currently active purchasers from either the Boot Barn or Sheplers brand,” Conroy said. “We will continue to operate Country Outfitters as a separate website and sales channel, and are taking advantage of several synergies made possible by our existing infrastructure.” CountryOutfitter.com, unlike BootBarn.com, has already been migrated to Boot Barn’s new e-commerce platform.

For the fiscal fourth quarter ended April 1, Boot Barn reported:

  • Net sales of $163.0 million, up 9.0% from $149.5 million last year.
  • A year-over-year consolidated same-store sales decline, including e-commerce, of 0.9%.
  • Net income of $2.6 million compared with $1.0 million.

For fiscal 2017, Boot Barn reported:

  • Net sales of $629.8 million, up 10.7% from $569.0 million last year.
  • A year-over-year consolidated same-store sales gain of 0.3%.
  • Net income of $14.2 million compared with $9.9 million.
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